LOLITA DITZLER, Author of THE VIEW FROM A MIDWEST FERRIS WHEEL
1.Tell us a bit about yourself – something that we will not find in the official author’s bio?
Writing is important to me, but my family comes first. I am the matriarch of a police family—my husband, our daughter and our son are retired officers. Our grandson joined the force two years ago.
2. Do you remember what was your first story (article, essay, or poem) about and when did you write it?
In 1969, I became a freelance journalist covering Durand community news for the Rockford Morning Star, our daily newspaper. My first article would have been a report of a local school board meeting.
3. What is the title of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is a memoir, “The View from a Midwest Ferris Wheel.” I wrote it to show what life was like on a family dairy farm during the 1950s and how a frivolous decision as a teenager set the course of my life.
4. How long did it take you to write your latest work and how fast do you write (how many words daily)?
It took about ten years to write my memoir, my first attempt at writing a book. I learned how to write creative nonfiction, a genre that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives, by attending classes and workshops conducted by The Division of Continuing Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I joined a writers’ group to get feedback on my work in progress. I spend mornings writing. I don’t measure my accomplishment by number of words written because I do a lot of rewriting.
5. Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I have always worked at home. I find taking breaks from writing to do a household chore such as putting a load of dirty clothes into the washer brings me back to the computer refreshed.
6. Is writing the only form of artistic expression that you utilize, or is there more to your creativity than just writing?
Writing is my only form of creativity.
7. Authors and books that have influenced your writings?
I was captivated by the first adult book I read while I was in high school, “Gone with the Wind.” Margaret Mitchell published the novel in 1936 and it’s still a best seller today. I think all of my reading influences my writing in some way.
8. What are you working on right now? Anything new cooking in the wordsmith’s kitchen?
Two years ago, I started a blog, lolita-s-bigtoe.com, aimed at older women. Every Wednesday, I post about 300 words on whatever subject grabs my attention.
9. Did you ever think about the profile of your readers? What do you think – who reads and who should read your books?
Most of my readers are older people. I’d like to have young adults read my work and learn about the past.
10. Do you have any advice for new writers/authors?
Save a copy of everything you write. You never know when something you’ve written in the past, whether it was published or rejected, may be relevant to your current work.
11. What is the best advice (about writing) you have ever heard?
Ernest Hemingway’s quote, “Put the seat of your pants on the seat of the chair.” When I became a community correspondent for the Rockford Morning Star, I visited their newsroom. People were pounding out their stories on typewriters while the wire service clacked about national happenings, the police scanner tracked their activities, and reporters shouted questions at one another. That was a lesson to me to write and not wait for the muse or an ideal time.
12. How many books you read annually and what are you reading now? What is your favorite literary genre?
I read about a hundred books a year. Now I am reading “Cane River” by Lalita Tademy. Murder mysteries are my favorite.
13. What do you deem the most relevant about your writing? What is the most important to be remembered by readers?
I am a common person interested in daily activities.
14. What is your opinion about the publishing industry today and about the ways authors can best fit into the new trends?
With traditional publishing by the “Big 5” such as Penguin Random House and smaller, independent publishers plus self-publishing, there are many opportunities for authors.